Operational review by
Executive Director of Land, Communities and Homebuilding and Chief Exec of Northstone
Our Land & Communities and Estates teams have focused on realising the long-term value of Peel L&P’s land portfolio through development strategies, securing development allocations, obtaining planning permissions, land acquisition and disposal, and estate management. The team are actively working in collaboration across 67 projects and a total of 4,600 acres, with development potential of 20,000 homes and 1.4 million sq m of employment space.
Over the last 12 months, the Land & Communities team have brought forward several sites within the ‘Greater Manchester Places for Everyone’ plan such as Mosley Common in Wigan and Hazelhurst Farm in Salford with exciting plans for a major community and parkland around Elton Reservoir in Bury. It wasn’t all success, with the uncertainties of the planning system laid bare by the refusal of the Haydock Point proposals after five years working towards a positive outcome with St Helens Council and transport authorities. The site has however now been safeguarded for future development in the local plan.
Following community feedback, plans were revised for a potentially game-changing project for Bolton that would restore and redevelop Hulton Park into a sports and healthy living destination. We strengthened our commitment to communities with the introduction of a Community Charter which benchmarked our focus on the social value of the proposals, in terms of public accessibility, inclusivity, affordability, culture, history, employment, and community facilities, along with commitments to environmental gain.
"Land & Communities are replenishing Peel L&P’s strategic landholdings and implementing several sustainability initiatives including Biodiversity Net Gain, Natural Capital and Social Value Assessments."
Land & Communities are replenishing the company’s strategic landholdings and implementing several sustainability initiatives including Biodiversity Net Gain, Natural Capital and Social Value Assessments. The team now works very closely with Peel L&P’s homebuilder, Northstone, with sites in Ellesmere Port, Wigan and Bolton transferred from Land & Communities ready for delivery, and plans progressing to build over 200 family and affordable homes in Horwich in Bolton to help meet local housing demand which was given the go ahead at appeal.
Northstone itself has grown extensively over the last year, with new members joining the team and helping to shape our ‘New, New Build’ concept. The team has worked holistically to begin our journey to reaching net-zero, investigating new methods of construction, improving design principles and pushing ourselves to implement more vigorous, meaningful targets which contribute to reducing our carbon footprint and enhancing the communities we are operating within.
The ‘Connecting Communities to Nature Commitment’ we have created is an overarching statement of intent outlining the aims of current and future Northstone developments, aiming to improve the natural capital assets of the area, underpinned by people and development.
Silkash in Bolton has seen great sales success with only a handful of homes remaining and we have welcomed our first residents to our second community, Keld, in Barrowford. Pre-launch sales are also underway at our next three schemes, Airie in Bolton, Glisk in Ellesmere Port and Tulach in Wigan. With building works progressing well across all live sites, the team are on schedule to deliver nearly 1,000 homes to help meet the demand for new housing in the North West.
In recognition of the team’s success, Northstone won its first three accolades at the North West Homebuilder Awards, taking home ‘Sustainability Impact’, ‘Larger Housing Scheme of the Year’ and ‘Homebuilder of the Year’. Once again, Northstone’s quality was recognised with a ‘Quality Award’ from the National Housing Building Council’s (NHBC) Pride in the Job Awards for John Rush at Keld.
Most recently, the Estates team has been welcomed under the Land, Communities and Homebuilding umbrella and continues to keep rental incomes strong across the portfolio. Notably, the team completed the purchase of Cutacre Country Park from Harworth Group plc which brought with it approximately 150 acres of additional land and properties, to enhance the opportunities for relocation of existing tenants at neighbouring Hulton Park.
To support local groups recovering from the pandemic, the Estates team provided over £100,000 of services in kind to Hollinwood Scout Camp in Worsley, to aid their relocation which in turn facilitated the delivery of RHS Garden Bridgewater. Putting sustainability at the fore, £125,000 of funding was secured towards research and trials into bio-banking, environmental schemes, and biodiversity net gain projects to assist future developments.
"In recognition of the team’s success, Northstone won its first three accolades at the North West Homebuilder Awards, taking home ‘Sustainability Impact’, ‘Larger Housing Scheme of the Year’ and ‘Homebuilder of the Year’.”